Friday, January 09, 2009

Novel Pest Control

This blog detests grey squirrels. It regards them as vermin, which have driven out the native red, one of the lovliest mammals on earth. Encouragement is given to anyone who cames up with a plan to eradicate them. Well, Mr Martin Wright of Stafford has come up with a humdinger of a plan - Cajun Squirrel Crisps. It seems that Walker's Crisps have chosen Martin's idea, along with five other flavours to go on sale for a trial period of six months. I consider it the moral duty of anyone who shares my love of the natural wildlife of Britain to seek out Walker's Cajun Squirrel Crisps, and buy them in great numbers. And to hold Squirrel Crisps Parties, in the way we used to hold Ann Summers and Tupperware parties - that's 'we' in the sense of the British people. If you delve into the hgistory of Welshpool, you will see that this plan may work.

I don't suppose many of you remember Phil Lewis who used to keep the Vaults Pub in Welshpool's Broad Street during the late 70s/early 80s. For a festive joke, he began selling Hedgehog Crisps in the pub. What started as a bit of a snigger, and perhaps a line or two in the equivalent of Nelson's Column in today's County Times, grew into a laugh so loud that the whole world shook. A food manufacturing company called Hedgehog Foods was established, hundreds of workers were taken on, and the product was exported to all corners of the earth. Some spikey official from the trading standards department became involved - because Phil wasn't using actual hedgehogs. Maybe he couldn't catch enough of them.) Anyway, Phil found some gypsies who had genuinely eaten hedgehog, and they helped him match the flavour as near as possible. For some reason the trading standards man was happy when the name was changed to 'Hedgehog Flavour'. Lots of money was made and some of the profit was donated to St Tiggywinkles, a home for injured and sick hedgehogs.

When I was a young man, hedgehogs were everywhere. I remember setting out one pitch dark summer's night, intent on catching a rabbit with my bare hands. My plan was to sit next to a rabbit run, in absolute silence, like a heron waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting passing rabbit. I had an excellent sense of hearing in those days - but it turned out to be a hedgehog. I leapt back in agony, with the hedgehog impaled on my hands, or vice versa. Took me days to dig the spines out of my fingers. My pointis they were that common. And now I never see a hedgehog. I'm not sure that it was the crisps that did for them, but Cajun Squirrel Crisps must be worth a try.


Anonymous said...

I don't think they would actually use real grey squirrels to flavour the crisps, bit like the hedgehog flavoured crisps.

Apparently Greys do make good eating, although I think I will pass on this one.

Perhaps one of our wonderful Universities could offer a PhD into the decline of Hedgehogs? But will they patent it, or don't we want to go there!

Anonymous said...

The anus is an opening at the opposite end of an animal's digestive tract from the mouth. It is used for expelling feces, unwanted semi-solid matter produced during digestion, which, depending on the type of animal, may be one or more of: matter which the animal cannot digest, such as bones; food material after all the nutrients have been extracted, for example cellulose or lignin; ingested matter which would be toxic if it remained in the digestive tract; and dead or excess gut bacteria and other endosymbionts.

Amphibians, "reptiles", and birds use the same orifice for excreting liquid and solid wastes, and for copulation and egg-laying; this orifice is known as the cloaca. Monotreme mammals also have a cloaca, which is thought to be a feature inherited from the earliest amniotes via the therapsids. Marsupials have two nether orifices: one for excreting both solids and liquids; the other for reproduction, which appears as a vagina in females and a penis in males. Female placental mammals have completely separate orifices for defecation, urination, and reproduction; males have one opening for defecation and another for both urination and reproduction, although the channels flowing to that orifice are almost completely separate.

The development of the anus was an important stage in the evolution of multicellular animals. In fact it appears to have happened at least twice, following different paths in protostomes and deuterostomes. This accompanied or facilitated other important evolutionary developments: the bilaterian body plan; the coelom, an internal cavity that provided space for a circulatory system and, in some animals, formed a hydrostatic skeleton which enables worm-like animals to burrow; metamerism, in which the body was built of repeated "modules" which could later specialize, for example the heads of most arthropods are composed of fused, specialized segments.

Main articles: protostome and deuterostome
In animals at least as complex as an earthworm, the embryo forms a dent on one side, the blastopore, which deepens to become the archenteron, the first phase in the growth of the gut. In deuterostomes, the original dent becomes the anus while the gut eventually tunnels through to make another opening, which forms the mouth. The protostomes were so named because it used to be thought that in their embryos the dent formed the mouth while the anus was formed later, at the opening made by the other end of the gut. More recent research, however, shows that in protostomes the edges of the dent close up in the middle, leaving openings at the ends which become the mouth and anus.[1]

Flow of substance through the anus is typically controlled by the anal sphincter muscle.

^ Arendt, D., Technau, U., and Wittbrodt, J. (4 January 2001). "Evolution of the bilaterian larval foregut". Nature 409: 81-85. doi:10.1038/35051075. Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
This digestive system article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

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Glyn Davies said...

anon 1 - Maybe the housemates on Celebrity Big Brother could start things off.

Anon 2- That's probably put every reader off sex for ever.

Anonymous said...

Anything that gets rid of the pesky grey squirrels sounds good to me. It's a pain keeping them away from the bird feeders.

I'd give the crisps a try!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Anon #2 had a tortoise for Christmas like myself, and has been reading up on reptiles.

Quite interestingly, I found out what the difference is between a reptile and a dinosaur - their hips!

Reptile legs stick out at 90° to the body, as seen in lizards, crocs etc. Dinosaurs have their legs under their body like mammals, eg Man, horse, etc.

There is a theory doing the rounds that Dinosaurs became warm blooded, their livers produced heat. Humans use some 80% of their calorific intake (food) on producing heat, while cold blooded reptiles only use around 10% which means that they need less food. Which may explain why the dinosaurs pegged it when the Yucatan Asteroid struck 65 million years ago, the tortoises went on living, their either had enough to eat or hibernated!

Anonymous said...

On talk of Asteroids, it is thought that the Welsh Assembly building (and more precisely, the offices of the First and Deputy First Minister) were struck by a peculiarly 'nice asteroid'. A nice asteroid is one that has ambience as opposed to mass. Thus, an impact from a nice asteroid does not involve conversion of kinetic energy into impact or heat energy. A nice asteroid does not physically harm inanimate things such as buildings or land, but upon impact with organic matter converts its ambience energy into daft energy. It is just unfortunate that the nice asteriod that hit the Welsh Assembly building was a particularly large nice asteroid. The results of this impact are clear to everyone, but some examples of daft energy can be seen in the expenses claimed by some Assembly Members.

Footnote: Lembit Opik suffered a direct hit from a nice asteroid.

Madison Perry said...

great post! I have a question about this post, please contact me via e-mail at your convenience. Thank you in advance.

Glyn Davies said...

Madison - my email is